Habemas Alemanam

(Latin speakers from the previous thread will be swift to offer corrections, I am sure.)

Linguistic confusion reigns in the early days of Benedict XVI. One local tabloid said a German was Pope, another claimed him as a Bavarian, the third as a M?nchner. The Bild-Zeitung said “Wir sind Papst,” which would literally mean “We’re Pope,” a claim that’s odd, even by the standards of that paper’s often tenuous relationship with consensus reality.

Hans Kung has some sensible things to say on the subject.

My first thoughts are probably less so.

I was clearly wrong to speculate that John Paul II would be the last European Pope. At least one report I read today suggested that the cardinals from Latin America know that time is on their side and didn’t see a need rush it. German media were reporting tips from Italian newspapers saying the toughest opposition to Ratzinger came from the German cardinals. Third hand, I know, but interesting.

And nobody liked the Lando II idea. Or at least no one who mattered. But the secret Jedi ecumenism seems to have run deeper than I would have thought.

As for serious thoughts about B16, I’m a little short. People I find congenial are not happy about the choice. He’s said he will come to the global Catholic youth event in Cologne this summer, so it looks like he will travel, too. We’ll see if worldwide pilgrimage has become a permanent part of the papal purview. We’ll also find out if he’s got the charisma to keep the attention of the global public that JP2 won.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Life and tagged , by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

3 thoughts on “Habemas Alemanam

  1. I felt like the Bild headline came pretty close to a (ironic) world-cup-style hooting in the streets, ala “Wir sind wieder wer!” in 1954.

  2. The name Benedict may well have been chosen because of a “prophecy” by an Irish saint called Malachy.

    Basically he gave a list of characteristics of all the popes from his time to the last. This one is supposed to be “Gloria Olivae” – the glory of the olive.

    The olive is the symbol of the Benedictine order. But there were no Benedictines available (such a shame Basil Hume had to die …) so the new pope could simply assume the name Benedict, and the prophecy is therefore “fulfilled”.

  3. He is of course Bavarian. That his passport may say “Germany” (if it doesn’t say “Vatican” by now) is an unfortunate accident of history.

    (Spoken as a Bavarian in exile. Specific location of tongue is hopefully not necessary to disclose)

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